By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary talked about toughness all offseason.
But when it lined up right in front of them in the first game of the 2018 season, the Celtics simply weren’t ready.
Running the ball right at McNary’s defense from the opening whistle, North Medford racked up 572 yards of total offense on its way to a 55-27 rout.
Senior Elias Spence did most of the damage, carrying the ball 26 times for 342 yards and five touchdowns.
“They just came out and took it to us as far as their level of contact,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said of North Medford. “We had not brought that on each other. We did not see that at the jamboree. They just did a great job. They were flying all over the place, driving through on contact and we didn’t know what hit us. They were aggressive and we did not handle it very well, obviously.”
McNary didn’t have the same success on the ground. Junior Walling was held to 29 yards on 11 carries. Robert Benson gained 21 yards on five caries.
The Celtics did most of their damage in the air, especially as the game got out of hand.
Starting quarterback Erik Barker completed 14 of 24 passed for 187 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. His favorite receiver, Noah Bach, caught nine passes for 60 yards, and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Jacob Jackson caught three passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Griffin Oliveira had five receptions for 64 yards.
Trailing 55-14 with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter, senior quarterback Ryan Bamford came in relief and led the Celtics to two rushing touchdowns, including a 1-yard dive to complete the scoring with 2:16 remaining.
The schedule won’t get any easier for McNary in week two as the Celtics travel to West Linn on Friday, Sept. 7.
“We’d like to fix our toughness issues at the moment,” Auvinen said. “They (North Medford) just out-toughed us. We’re working on running our feet through contact, both offensively and defensively. Work on every aspect because none of the three aspects were very good tonight. We didn’t play well defensively obviously but we didn’t play well offensively and our special teams wasn’t very good. That just comes down to them playing a heck of a lot harder than we did.”